The Trail of Paradox
walked along a country road paying visits to anyone he encountered. He
was a master of the human condition and wished only to share his insight
with his fellow stewards in hopes of making their lives a bit more productive.
_____The first stop on his journey was a
plantation where a farmer worked alone in bountiful fields. Paradox approached
the man and began a pleasant conversation. The farmer showed him his beautiful
garden and plentiful crops ready for market. He told him of the good fortune
the weather had bestowed, as harvest was at hand. After several minutes,
Paradox was able to see inside the farmer's soul and detected a great
deal of stress.
_____"Excuse me if I'm being overly
personal," Paradox inquired, "but I can't help noticing a great
deal of unrest in your heart. Would I be prying to ask you why you feel
_____"It's very simple," the farmer
explained, "I live with the fear of every man who ever held the land
as his means of support. What if I am unable to feed my family?"
_____"Sir, I don't mean to be pretentious
or to overstep my position, but I am a tremendous judge of the reality
of the mind. It seems to me foolish to fear hunger when you stand amongst
as beautiful a crop as I have ever seen."
_____The farmer looked at Paradox thoughtfully.
"Thank you sir, it seems you make a good point. I will take your
comment into consideration."
_____With this, Paradox left the farmer to
his work and set once more on his way. The next person he saw was a young
man pumping water from a well. He walked through the gate and into the
man's yard and introduced himself as he approached the well.
_____"Would you like a drink of fresh
water?" the man offered, holding out a tin cup.
_____"Why thank you my kind sir, I don't
mind if I do." Drinking the water, Paradox felt refreshed. "It
is cool and refreshing water, thank you."
____"That it is Mr. Paradox, this has
been a most productive well. Each morning as I fearfully prime the pump,
the water begins to flow easily."
_____"You said you primed the pump in
fear," Paradox questioned, "why would this be?"
_____"That is really quite simple sir,
I thought you said you were knowledgeable about man's emotions. This well
is our only source of water. What would I do if it did not produce?"
_____"But sir, you said yourself it
has been a most dependable well. Wouldn't it be a waste of precious peace
of mind to worry about something that has been such a stable gift in your
_____"I've never thought of it that
way before. I do indeed despise inefficient use of my emotions. I shall
examine my actions closely."
_____Paradox once again traveled on his way,
hoping to make one more visit before stopping for his evening meal. He
came upon an elderly man tending to his horse outside the barn. He introduced
himself once more and entered into conversation with the friendly soul.
After talking for a good while he learned a great deal about the man's
lifestyle. He owned a very modest farm and was nearing the end of his
dependence on its resources, for his daughter and son-in-law had done
much to make his life comfortable. I asked him why he pampered his horse
_____He answered. "Musket here is my
pride and joy. I couldn't live without her. She pulls my plow and tramples
my grain. Without her there'd be no farm. I will not resort to machinery;
it's not nature's way. Sometimes I can't sleep at night wondering what
I will do when she is gone."
_____"Sir, your love for your horse
is delightful, but may I ask you a question?"
_____"Yes, go right ahead."
_____"It seems to me," Paradox
continued, "and I am a scholar of human nature, that you are torturing
yourself needlessly. After any one of your sleepless nights, have you
ever found Musket lying lifeless in the morning sun? How many times have
your fears been validated?"
_____"I feel so embarrassed," the
old man blushed. "I guess I've acted quite the old fool. Thank you
for setting me straight."
_____Paradox left the man at his horse's
side and journeyed to a nearby cafe. Over dinner he thought about the
time he had spent with his three new friends. In all his days no one had
ever taken to his philosophy so quickly and completely. It seemed they
had each accepted his questions easily and thoughtfully. He wondered if
they had truly seen the error of their thinking, and more importantly,
he wondered if they would be able to change their condition accordingly.
____When he left the cafe and reversed his
journey homeward, he could not believe what he saw. His question was answered
in a most profound and horrifying way. Indeed the three had managed to
act upon their erroneous thinking. The elderly plowman had put a bullet
through his horse's head, the young man had capped his faithful well,
and the farmer had just completed raping his land with a bulldozer.
© 1993 - Paul Stephens